After an illustrious five-year CIS basketball career, Trinity Western star power forward Jacob Doerksen, who is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever don a Trinity Western uniform, has signed his first professional basketball contract and will start the 2011-12 season with Germany’s UBC (United Basketball Club) Tigers Hannover of the Bundesliga ProB.
Coming off a season in which he helped the Spartans to a CIS silver medal – the school’s best ever finish in men’s basketball – and was named a Canada West and CIS First-Team All-Star, Doerksen fielded a couple of offers throughout the summer but ultimately decided to join the Tigers where he will play alongside former Spartan Steve Janzen.
Doerksen comes to UBC after the team was relegated last year from Bundesliga ProA. The ProB league is the third highest level of professional basketball in Germany, behind Bundesliga ProA and the country’s top league, the BBL (Basketball Bundesliga).
“The unknown is the most exciting part,” Doerksen said from Hannover. “I came over here with very few details and everyday so far is a new experience with new challenges. I have pretty much been dropped in a foreign country with an apartment and a job. It is surreal indeed.”
And in what only adds to Doerken’s surrealism, is the fact that for the first time in his career, he will be wearing a jersey emblazoned with three distinct letters that, for five CIS seasons – both with Victoria and with TWU – represented his basketball-playing arch-nemesis: UBC.
“I did have a good chuckle the first time,” Doerksen said. “But donning this UBC Tigers jersey wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
Doerksen graduated high school from Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Secondary and first joined the Victoria Vikes, before transferring to Trinity Western.
Doerksen, who on the UBC Tigers website seems to be going by the nickname “Canadian Beast,” joins the Tigers after a CIS career that saw him named to the Canada West All-Star team in each and every season he played, named the CIS Rookie of the Year in 2006 and the CIS Player of the Year in 2009.
“Basketball has allowed me to do things I probably would not have been able to do,” Doerksen said. “Turning pro has allowed me to live in and explore Europe and I am very thankful for this opportunity.”
While Doerksen has yet to play a game with the team – the Tigers first league game is Sept. 24 when they play the Wolfenbüttel Dukes – he’s confident he’ll fit into the team well. And fortunately for Doerksen, the Tigers head coach, Michael Mai, who was formerly the European Director of the Christian organization News Release Basketball, is American. So training is in English.
“Practices have been going well,” Doerksen said. “Our team will be good and I will certainly have to earn my playing time, but usually imports do get more minutes. We are expected to be one of the top teams in the league this year. And if I was to guess, I would think the level of play would be similar to the CIS. The game is very different though than the banging and battling found in the CIS. The first thing I noticed is the European guys will use the pump fake like six times in a row.”
New style or not, Doerksen will be expected to make an impact immediately as he joins to the Tigers with plenty of pedigree.
Last year, Doerksen led the Spartans with 21.6 points per game in the regular season and was second on the team in rebounds, behind Tyrell Mara, with 8.4 boards per game.
During his Spartans career, he totaled 1852 points, which is second most in Spartans history behind Adam Friesen’s 1869, and collected 781 rebounds, which is also second most in the school’s history behind Logan Kitteringham’s 798. He also holds the Spartans record for points in a game with 42, which he put up Dec. 4, 2010 against Fraser Valley, and the record for most rebounds in a season with 344 boards in 2008-09.